The move is a blow to HHCL, because Howarth is pivotal to its £70 million BSkyB business, which accounts for about two-thirds of the agency's total billings.
Howarth will sit alongside the CHI joint managing directors Neil Goodlad and Sarah Gold, and report to the agency's partners, Johnny Hornby, Simon Clemmow and Charles Inge.
He will oversee the growth of CHI's integrated group offering, which includes Hall Moore CHI and Naked Inside. He will also spearhead the development of new ventures as the agency looks to expand into branding and contract publishing. In addition to this, he will work with Hornby on the main ad agency's clients, although Gold and Goodlad will continue to manage the day-to-day running of the agency.
Howarth, 35, worked with Hornby when they were graduate trainees at Ogilvy & Mather in the early 90s. He joined HHCL in 1995 and was named chief executive earlier this year.
Hornby said: "Nick is not only an amazing talent, but is one of the most likeable men in the business."
Howarth added: "CHI is growing at a phenomenal rate but has only scratched the surface of what it can achieve."
- Perspective, page 21.